3 people we need in our lives

I believe very strongly that we are not meant to do life alone.  We need other people to help us on our journey.  We need other people to walk alongside us.

3 people we need in our lives

(These are taken from Gordon MacDonald’s book “Restoring Your Spiritual Passion”.  In the book he shares 6 people we need in our lives.)

1. A mentor.

These are people who usher us into opportunity and possibility. They are usually close by and can be drawn upon when courage, guidance, or assurance is needed that a path is chosen is the right one.

The mentor is not necessarily a friend. They enter our lives for a specific purpose and for a given period of time. There is usually an objective to the relationship: to develop a younger or more inexperienced person into something.

2. The affirmer or the encourager.

These are people who move alongside and inspire us as we act out our destiny. The affirmer takes up where the mentor leaves off.

We must not mistake affirmation for the empty compliments that carelessly get tossed about in human relationships.

Affirmation is the genuine act of mutual discovery and evaluation.

Affirmation is not impulsive, and is not given with the motive of obtaining a reciprocal favour.

Affirmation is one person’s assistance to another so that he or she can see the life of God in action and in being.

When affirmation is denied it leaves people struggling, wondering if their contribution is substantial, whether or not it makes a difference.

I have experienced both the work of the affirmer and the “de-firmer”. The de-firmer works from insensitivity, ignorance, indifference, or (worse yet) plain, pure malice.

We not only have to be able to spot the de-firmer coming at us, but we need to ask ourselves if we too have been guilty of de-firmation on occasions. It is easy to become a de-firmer and not know it until too late.

3. The rebuker.

It takes courage to include the rebuker in your life. For what they say often hurts and leaves bruises on the spirit.

But we may be talking about the most important people we need in our lives.  We all need truth-tellers, even if we don’t really want them.

The writers of the book of Proverbs put a great premium on the position of the rebuker. Proverbs 27:5, 6 says,

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

Truth telling is in short supply in our world. Our relationships often include those who are willing to speak the truth behind our backs but not in front. The former is destructive; the latter constructive.

One rarely grows without a rebuke. One solid and loving rebuke is worth a hundred affirmations.

But rebuke and criticism are two different things. Criticism is that de-firmation that we talked about earlier.

The rebuker rebukes at great risk. And we, who at any moment become the rebuked, must be careful to listen intently, thanking the rebuker for truth that was shared at such high cost.

Do you have these 3 people in your life?

Categories: Leadership


  • jasonS says:

    Great post, Kevin. I’ve been looking at who we are to be as the Body lately and when the scriptures say we are to exhort one another, that word means to press or pressure. We don’t see a lot of that today, whether in our encouragement or our rebuking. It is very needed though if we want to grow up! Thanks.

  • Its plight of the high positioned and politicians not to welcome No 3 people, that why the fall rate of them is very high. You should know your drawbacks, your limitations and your mistakes to refind and improve constantly. You should be grateful to them who scold you for going out of track every moment on your life. Great post kevin, love you.

  • Missy says:

    Kevin – great point. I love the “rebuker.” You’re right – it DOES take courage to have one, but it really helps when you do! Good to “see” you again. It’s been awhile!

  • Loren Greig says:

    Hi Kevin!

    Good information! I agree that it’s important to have people in our lives who support and guide us and are there when we need them at times to assist us in regaining our power. It’s most empowering when we are left to our own resources, making requests for guidance only when we have first searched for the answer on our own. I feel the same about the rebuker… believing that we make our own best rebuker, as we know our own shortcomings. It takes a lot of courage to face them and take action to create change. When we are dedicated to creating love and spaciousness within, we find a way to systematically create change so that we can growth. This also involves being attuned to and aware of what is happening in our lives that is giving us messages and answers. Many blessings, Loren

    • Hi Loren!

      I agree that we need to be these types of people to ourselves. The drawback to not including others is that we all have blind spots that only others close to us can see. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

  • Yorinda says:

    Hi Kevin,

    wouldn’t it be nice if we had a balance of those three people when we grew up.

    I only had the rebuker and it took me a lot of personal growth to be able to handle any (even constructive) criticism.
    Therefore I have also learned to choose my words wisely and refrain from criticism if possible.
    Encouragement goes a long way. Deep down I believe, we all know when we could have done something better and we only can change when we are ready.

    Thank you for sharing this!

    Love and Joy

  • Buddy Hodges says:

    I use the analogy of a blind golfer. In order to improve his game, he needs someone to tell him how to swing, someone to describe which the ball goes, and someone to congratulate him when he does well — so he doesn’t give up. And he may need someone to tell what he is doing wrong.

    We all learn from rewards and punishments. Personally, I prefer positive reinforcement. That which gets rewarded gets repeated.

  • Lawrence Garcia says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these with us, this a great way to how we can improve our living. Keep this up Kevin!

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